Iggy Pop provided a celebratory speech as Nine Inch Nails were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during the virtual 2020 ceremony.
Trent Reznor, along with a cast of characters who have played a pivotal role in shaping the career of Nine Inch Nails, was inducted in the virtual ceremony alongside the likes of Whitney Houston, T. Rex, The Notorious B.I.G., Depeche Mode and The Doobie Brothers. It was announced earlier this year that the 2020 ceremony, which was originally set to take place in May, had been moved November and take place in virtual form in the wake of the ongoing health crisis.
“When I first heard about Nine Inch Nails and I heard a little of their music, I thought, ‘Well, who is this guy?’,” Iggy Pop praisingly stated in his induction speech. “So I took a look and I saw a face straight out of 15th century Spain. I think Trent could have played Zorro.”
“If he’d been alive at the right time, I think he could have been painted by Velasquez or El Greco, and his portrait would probably hang in the Prado today. Listening to Nine Inch Nails’ music — which is so often called ‘industrial’ — I actually hear a lot of funk. Just listen to ‘Closer,’ and the foundation could be Stevie Wonder or George Clinton, but on top of that is a focused and relentless process of emotional destruction which paints a portrait of pain, pressure, and dissatisfaction.”
“It’s the soundtrack to the dark and lonely party that was beginning to play out in America at that period, so I would call it, not industrial, but the sound of industrial and digital ambition,” the former Stooges man added.
Iggy then recalled being blown away by seeing them perform live at the LA Forum supporting David Bowie, “Trent held the centre of that room just by being a kind of dark spot, hunched behind the mic. I’ve seen the same thing accomplished in different ways by T. Rex at Wembley, Nirvana at the Pyramid Club, and Bob Dylan in ’65. This is the mark of the master artist, simply to connect.”
He added: “The controversial and brilliant French novelist Michel Houellebecq, when asked the secret of his success, said, ‘It’s easy: Just tell the truth.’ Listening to Nine Inch Nails feels like hearing the truth, so it gets you a little bit closer to God. It is my honour to assist in inducting Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”
“Even now, music’s always been the thing that keeps me going,” Reznor said in his acceptance speech, “and, as an artist, I think the most significant accomplishment or feeling is realising something you’ve created from a fragile and intimate place has reached out, resonated and affected someone else, possibly changing how they see the world. So as to whatever being in a hall of fame means, thank you for the recognition,” he said.
“For the Nine Inch Nails fans out there, you guys are the best. We’ve wound up in some weird places together, and you’re an intense bunch that can drive me out of my mind, but you’re the best. This journey’s far from over if I have any say in it, so let’s stop fucking around patting ourselves on the back and get to it. Hope to see you all in the flesh soon.”
Check out Reznor’s acceptance speech, below.